[slurm-users] Kinda Off-Topic: data management for Slurm clusters

John Hearns hearnsj at googlemail.com
Sat Feb 23 08:38:55 UTC 2019

Will, there are some excellent responses here.
I agree that moving data to local fast storage on a node is a great idea.

Regarding the NFS storage, I would look at implementing BeeGFS if you can
get some new hardware or free up existing hardware.
BeeGFS is a skoosh case to set up.

(*) Scottish slang. Skoosh case - very easy

On Sat, 23 Feb 2019 at 04:56, Raymond Wan <rwan.work at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Will,
> On 23/2/2019 1:50 AM, Will Dennis wrote:
> > For one of my groups, on the GPU servers in their cluster, I have
> provided a RAID-0 md array of multi-TB SSDs (for I/O speed) mounted on a
> given path ("/mnt/local" for historical reasons) that they can use for
> local scratch space. Their other servers in the cluster have a single
> multi-TB spinning disk mounted at that same path. We do not manage the data
> at all on this path; it's currently up to the researchers to put needed
> data there, and remove the data when it is no longer needed. (They wanted
> us to auto-manage the removal, but we aren't in a position to know what
> data they still need or not, and "delete data if atime/mtime is older than
> [...]" via cron is a bit too simplistic.) They can use that local-disk path
> in any way they want, with the caveat that it's not to be used as
> "permanent storage", there's no backups, and if we suffer a disk failure,
> etc, we just replace with new and the old data is gone.
> IMHO, auto-managing the data removal is a slippery slope.
> If the disk space is the research group's, perhaps just let
> them manage it.  Whatever expiry date you put on files,
> someone will come along and ask for you to change it.
> I suppose one thing you could ask them to do, if you do need
> to auto-manage it, is to ask them to write scripts that
> "touch" the files they've used (even if it is read only).  I
> guess it's up to you how involved you want to be.
> > The other group has (at this moment) no local disk at all on their
> worker nodes. They actually work with even bigger data sets than the first
> group, and they are the ones that really need a solution. I figured that if
> I solve the one group's problem, I also can implement on the other (and
> perhaps even on future Slurm clusters we spin up.)
> Sounds like the problem is really how willing this second
> group is with purchasing additional local disk space.
> (Which, to be effective, should be the same space at the
> same path across all nodes.  And that's assuming you have
> the space on each node...  The servers that I use have one
> local disk for each node; there wouldn't be enough drive
> bays for every research group to add a drive -- we have more
> than 2 research groups.)
> > A few other questions I have:
> > - is it possible in Slurm to define more than one filesystem path (i.e,
> other than "/tmp") as "TmpDisk"?
> > - any way to allocate storage on a node via GRES or another method?
> It seems there have been more useful replies since.  But
> about your first question, I think I can answer on behalf of
> the computers I use.  I don't believe "/tmp" has been
> specifically set as the "TmpDisk" in the SLURM
> configuration.  We have Unix-level read/write access to it.
> We can also "cd" over to our NFS mounted home directories
> when we run our programs (at the top of the SLURM submitted
> script).
> In that sense, our system administrators gave us the freedom
> to choose.  But on the downside, they never did any
> profiling and gave suggestions such as running programs on
> local disk.
> Anyway, they just allocated some space on the local disk as
> /tmp.  I didn't mean that it was specifically configured as
> TmpDisk, as far as I know.
> Good luck!
> Ray
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